(October 2013) Over 850 runners, walkers, cheering spectators and volunteers crowded the streets and sidewalks of Solomons in a show of pink for Calvert Memorial Hospital’s 4th Annual Breast Cancer 5K Walk/Run on Oct. 5. The record crowd brought in nearly $15,000 to benefit the Sheldon E. Goldberg Center for Breast Care at CMH.
“The event is so much more than a run/walk,” said Mary Lingebach, the breast center’s navigator. “The 5K is a positive, uplifting experience for everyone involved. There’s a palpable sense of hope and joy in the air.”
For some it was a way to show their support for a great cause but for others it had a much deeper meaning. Many came to support a mom, to remember a friend, to celebrate a survivor and to honor a loved one.
A group from the Bethel Way of the Cross Church in Huntingtown wore pink sashes that read: “In support of Mildred Harmon.” Health ministry volunteer Dianne Sewell said, “We just wanted to do something to recognize her remarkable spirit.” And even though the 80-year-old Prince Frederick resident was not able to attend she was deeply touched. “That was so very special of them to do that,” she said. “I so appreciated it.”
The team for Southern Maryland Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery was 73 members strong. “Our reasons for sponsoring the 5K are many,” said practice manager Jackie Taylor. “Most of us at SMOMS have had breast cancer personally affect our lives. We actually have one team member who is a survivor.”
She went on to add, “We didn’t expect it to take off the way it has. Our first year, we had 15 participants. The second year, 38 and this time we had 49 adults and 24 of our children walking with us. It is a great way for our office to celebrate each other, enjoy the beautiful outdoors and to encourage others to be proactive about their health.”
“The turnout was pretty amazing,” said Kasia Sweeney, spokesperson for the hospital. It’s times like this when the light of our community shines the brightest.’’ She said proceeds from the race will be used to expand support services available to all patients at the center as well as to support a special fund for patient financial assistance.
Another major focus of the annual event is awareness. Studies show that one woman in eight will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. If detected early, the five-year survival rate is 98 percent.
The recent addition of 3D mammography at Calvert Medical Imaging Center, the breast center’s imaging partner, has definitely raised the bar on early breast cancer detection, said Gary Linton, center manager. CMIC is the first imaging facility in Southern Maryland to offer 3D mammography. The cutting-edge technology can detect even the most subtle signs of early cancer. It is particularly beneficial for women with dense breasts, he said, because it allows radiologists to see lesions of the breast better – resulting in a greater rate of cancer detection and fewer call backs.
The CMH breast center combines the strength of state-of-the-art imaging technology and advanced clinical knowledge with care that treats each patient as a whole individual. Each member of the multidisciplinary team has specialized training in cancer care and is familiar with the latest treatment options. Today, Southern Maryland residents don’t have to leave the area to receive some of the best care available.
Sweeney recognized sponsors Calvert Medical Imaging Center, World Gym, the Brandon Greening Foundation and DRSG (Doctors Remembering Sheldon & Guillermo) for their extraordinary commitment to the event. The late Dr. Guillermo Zambrano, a highly respected radiologist at CMH, was a passionate advocate of the breast center and was instrumental in developing state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging in Calvert County.
She also thanked the numerous volunteers who helped including Boy Scout Troop #451 in Lusby and Our Lady Star of the Sea School who staffed the water stations along the race route. World Gym also donated a Total Wellness Package for the raffle that included a free one-year World Gym membership plus four consultations with a dietitian and four personal trainer sessions. The lucky winner was Kelly Childress of Lusby. This was her first 5K ever. “It was a great day and a lot of fun,” she said. “I never win anything. It was awesome.”
The family friendly event began with a warm-up by World Gym trainers. Just before the race began, Ramona Crowley Goldberg, wife of the late Dr. Sheldon Goldberg thanked the attendees for their support and added that “if there was one thing that Sheldon was truly zealous about, it was serving his patients; although he played a significant role in the establishment of the Center for Breast Care, it continues to sustain itself because of you. Your generosity with your time, effort, contributions, will help to continue to maintain and improve the Center for Breast Care for patients and their families, and help to save countless others from the hardship of this disease.”
The participants came from far and wide – inspired by the loved ones who have survived, motivated by those who continue the daily battle and determined to keep the memory alive of those who are now gone.
The top finisher overall was John Urban, 35, of Prince Frederick with a time of 17:25. The top female was Karen Cipressi, 49, of Huntingtown who finished at 21:28. “I was so happy to see such a large turnout,” she said. “My mom and sister are both cancer survivors so supporting a cause like this one is very important to me.”
For Elizabeth McClellan it was literally a team effort. Sidelined with a fractured ankle, the Calvert High School senior was pushed in a wheelchair by her teammates on the varsity volleyball team the entire 3.1-mile course around the island and across the finish line.